The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | May 14, 2009 | 1 CommentPoor President Obama. He’d REALLY like to get past this little torture problem that the Bush administration dumped like a load of crap on the Oval Office rug. But it just keeps coming back. Now the claim is, that in spite of his campaign promises of transparency, he will oppose releasing the torture photographs and that this will somehow protect the troops. There’s a possibility that this is true, but this writer believes that the president is being disingenuous. What not releasing the photographs is going to do is protect the president from having to do something about the perpetrators of these crimes. And I don’t mean the grunts and CIA operatives who actually performed the “enhanced interrogations” but the chain of command that issued the orders, back to and including former President Fratboy–I mean, Bush.
There is a long-standing tradition of treating previous administrations and their officials with kid gloves. You publicly give them the respect of having done whatever they did for the best reasons and especially, if there was anything fishy about it, you treat it as a hands off situation. The time to have done something was while the administration was in office–and that means use of the constitutional impeachment procedures. The problem is that the Bush administration committed high crimes and misdemeanors. They broke our laws against torture and international treaties against it. Yet, back in 2006, Nancy Pelosi took the impeachment process off the table, effectively leaving only one course of action, investigation and possible charges only after the change of administration.
Now the Democrats have been acting as if they were complete innocents in the matter. But it seems that Speaker Pelosi had been informed about the use of torture, and tacitly supported it by not doing a goddam thing about it. Nancy is also being disingenuous and trying to say that congressional leaders had only been informed about the possibililty of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, in other words, she knew that torture MIGHT be used, but not that torture actually WAS being used. Come on, now, Nancy, if a CIA spook tells you he might have to do something, chances are he’s already doing it. But this goes to the heart of the matter. Maybe the Bush administration is directly culpable for this crap, as former VP Dick Cheney is proud to admit, but there are a lot of people who are complicit in that they didn’t DO ANYTHING to stop it even though they were in a position to object or, if their voices were overborne by the “soft on terrorism” rhetoric of the time, leaked it to the news media.
Which brings us to another complicit group. The news media were cheerleaders for the so-called War on Terror. At some point in time, if there had been rumors that we were practicing torture, and there had, the news either suppressed the stories or said, so what, these were the people who attacked America. It wasn’t until the Abu Ghraib photographs started showing up on the internet that they were forced to break the story. Now the line many editors are taking is that we are ALL complicit because 100% of the American people were behind Bush’s war and nobody cared if we stepped on a few innocent Iraqi toes if it meant making America safer. What these apologists are forgetting is that a substantial portion of the American people were not gung ho about invading a country that had nothing to do with 9-11 and which did not have any weapons of mass destruction to threaten us with. But these people, through the complicity of the news media were marginalized and vilified as traitors, commies, anarchists, cowards, surrender monkeys or Frenchmen.
So this is the problem that Obama faces. If he allows the release of the photographs, they are probably so awful that the clamor to do something will be tremendous. But this will open a can of worms that will not just affect the former administration, but also members of his own party, journalists and god knows how many others who had the power to do something but stood by and did nothing.
But some of us didn’t.
See: How Americans Came to Support Torture, in Five Steps
Analysis: Obama revives old arguments on photos
Lawyers scoff at W.H. photo claim
Babes in TortureLand: Media Torture